So whenever people ask the question "what camera (or lens or tripod or whatever) do you use?" I always wonder why anyone would care what I use? But then I realized, as I am studying and looking at other peoples work - I am constantly wanting to know what they shot it with, what lens, what was their lighting set up etc etc. So yeah, duh, people like to know what others use - even me. And some of those people whose work I admire may be just as ambivalent about the equipment they are using as I am about mine. I constantly feel inadequate as a photographer, and I have had to try really hard to not let my equipment add to those feelings of inferiority.
So here is the breakdown about what I am using, with notes about why I have it and what I might wish I had instead. (And hey - if you steal my camera bag.....heeeerrrrres what you won!)
Canon 50D - I bought this camera a little over a year ago as a step up from the 10D (which I bought to go digital after using the Canon A2E for a long time). I really wish it was the 5D (not even necessarily the Mark II, and of course now I want the 7D) because it has a full frame sensor. I looked around on ebay/craigslist etc but it will still out of my budget even used (its a very popular camera - with good reason). In the end, the 50D was the best I could afford. I like it, it isn't perfect, but I have no major complaints. Other than being annoying at times because of the sensor, the 50D has absolutely everything I need. I have no special allegiance to Canon (I don't really get the Canon/Nikon war at all), I stumbled upon Canon at the urging of a salesperson at BH Photo in 1998 and once I knew those and had lenses for those, thats what I stuck with.
Canon 50mm f/1.8 - I don't care what kind of photography you do, if you are using a Single Lens Reflex camera you should own a 50mm prime (meaning, fixed focal length, not zoom) lens. It is considered the 'normal' focal length (closest to your eye) and I think is the best lens to really learn with. I have had this lens since 1999 and it has never failed me - its fast and has lovely bokeh (look it up). I have even dropped it (like, hard) more times than I can count and its still going strong. On my camera, since there is a 1.6x magnification it is more like 80mm - it still is a great lens (my default lens for all food photography) but if I want that 'normal' focal length I need a 35mm lens. I wish I had one of these as well, but I don't.
Sigma 28mm f/1.8 Macro - I love this lens. Its a great price for starters. I got this lens (actually, it was a birthday present from my mom a couple of years ago, thanks mom!) because I needed a fast wide angle lens - especially for interiors when I am traveling (like cathedrals and such). The Macro is just bonus - it has a super close focal length and beautiful bokeh. On my camera the actual focal length ends up being around 45 (so, slightly wider than normal) and this is just a really nice focal length for general-use photography. I use this lens when I travel quite a lot and also in food and various macro projects. I don't think I would trade this lens for anything.
Sigma 70-300mm f/4-5.6 DL Super Macro - I got this lens like 7 years ago on ebay. Its an ok lens. Its not expensive, its works great for extreme close-up macro type stuff, like water droplets and what not. Its hard to focus and I hardly ever use it outside of as a macro lens at 300 mm. But it works for that. I wish I had the Canon EF 70-300mm f/2.8 IS USM lens. But it costs like $2400 so I don't.
LensBaby 2.0 - This is considered a 'special effects' lens and its endless fun. I use this all the time and I never really get tired of it. There is a new version (the Composer) out but really I feel no need to upgrade. I bought this (along with the creative aperture kit) off someone on craigslist a few years ago. Here and here are a couple examples of photos I took with this.
Canon Speedlite 430EX II Flash - There are basically 2 Canon flashes, this is the cheaper one. There is some additional functionality you get with the bigger flash (in addition to it being bigger) but I didn't really need that, since I don't use strobes all that often. If I decide I need a second strobe, I will probably get the 580EX since it can be the master in a slave set up, and since people tell me its faster than the 430.
Canon BG-E2N Battery Grip - I wanted to have longer battery life and a vertical grip - this allows both (it holds 2 batteries). Sometimes I remove it if I want my camera to be smaller for sticking in my bag but pretty much this is always on my camera.
Canon Remote Switch - I use this when shooting food and basically whenever I'm using the tripod. I use to have a super-cheap made in China knock-off but it broke like the second time I used it. Ponying up for the Canon one has totally been worth it (ok actually convincing my mom to buy it for me for Christmas...you see a trend here? Start a public wish list at B&H or Amazon, it will be the best thing you ever do). (note: when shooting food-prep photos I also shoot with the 2-second timer as well because I often need both hands for the photo itself). This is one of those things that you just might not really need, but I find for the things I do most of the time its very nice to have.
V500 or V600. Obviously I would love to have some super duper awesome dedicated film scanner but those are not something I'm going to be able to afford anytime soon. If I start shooting way more film than maybe I would consider it.
Ok....so thats it. I have several 'holes' in my equipment as far as I'm concerned. I have no all-around zoom lens (I need a 24-70 f/2.8), which means when I am out shooting I am constantly switching lenses on my camera. Talk about pain in the ass. And I have no studio lighting set up. My house has huge floor to ceiling windows that face south and west, so I have terrific window light that works great for food. But during the winter and for various random things, I still need some lights.
I didn't get into my computer and software which is as much as part of my equipment as anything. Here it is in a nutshell: Windows 7 64bit, Photoshop CS4 (and Bridge), a Logitech gaming mouse because its more precise, 1680x1050 22-in monitor that I color-calibrated with a spyder calibrater that I borrowed, and 1.5 TB storage. I would really like to have a Wacom Tablet as well, and I definitely need more RAM.
Feel free to ask questions or share what you use or wish you had in the comments - and hopefully this will be of use to someone :)